In contrast to the commonly held belief, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will not lead to job displacement, according to a recent study. This study sheds light on the significant influence of work experience on employees’ interactions with AI. It appears that employees with specific task-related experience derive greater benefits from AI, while senior workers tend to be less trusting of AI due to concerns about its imperfections. These findings underscore the necessity for customized strategies when incorporating AI into the workplace to enhance collaboration between humans and AI.
New research, recently published in the INFORMS journal Management Science, provides valuable insights for business leaders regarding the impact of work experience on how employees engage with artificial intelligence.
This study delves into the consequences of two primary forms of work experience in humans: narrow experience, which relates to the quantity of specific tasks, and broad experience, which pertains to overall seniority. These factors have varying effects on the dynamics within human-AI teams.
The study’s lead author, Weiguang Wang from the University of Rochester, explains, “We developed an AI solution for medical chart coding in a publicly traded company and conducted a field study among the knowledge workers. We were surprised by what we found in the study. The different dimensions of work experience have distinct interactions with AI and play unique roles in human-AI teaming.”
Contrary to expectations, Guodong (Gordon) Gao of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, a study co-author, notes, “While one might think that less experienced workers should benefit more from AI, we find the opposite – AI benefits workers with greater task-based experience. At the same time, senior workers, despite their greater experience, gain less from AI than their junior colleagues.”
Further investigation reveals that the relatively lower increase in productivity with AI among senior employees is not due to their experience level but rather stems from their heightened sensitivity to AI imperfections, which erodes their trust in AI.
Ritu Agarwal, also from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a co-author of the study, highlights the dilemma: “Employees with greater experience are better positioned to harness AI for productivity, but senior employees, who shoulder more responsibilities and have a stronger organizational perspective, tend to avoid AI due to their apprehensions about relying on AI’s assistance. Consequently, they do not effectively utilize AI.”
The researchers advise employers to carefully assess different types and levels of worker experience when introducing AI into the workplace. New employees with limited task-related experience may face challenges in harnessing AI’s potential. Meanwhile, senior employees with extensive organizational experience may be concerned about the potential risks associated with AI. Addressing these unique challenges is essential for fostering productive collaboration between humans and AI.
Reference: “Friend or Foe? Teaming Between Artificial Intelligence and Workers with Variation in Experience” by Weiguang Wang, Guodong (Gordon) Gao, and Ritu Agarwal, published on October 11, 2023, in Management Science. DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2021.00588
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AI Work Experience
Q: What does the study reveal about the impact of AI on employment?
A: The study challenges the belief that AI will lead to job displacement. It shows that work experience plays a crucial role, with employees having task-specific experience benefiting more from AI.
Q: Why do senior workers tend to be less trusting of AI according to the study?
A: Senior workers’ lower trust in AI is not due to their experience level but their heightened sensitivity to AI imperfections, making them cautious about relying on AI’s assistance.
Q: How can businesses enhance human-AI collaboration in light of these findings?
A: Businesses should consider different worker experience types and levels when integrating AI. Tailored strategies are essential to address the unique challenges faced by both junior employees and senior workers in leveraging AI effectively.
More about AI Work Experience
- Management Science Journal
- Study: “Friend or Foe? Teaming Between Artificial Intelligence and Workers with Variation in Experience”
- University of Rochester
- Johns Hopkins Carey Business School